Struggling with incontinence can often feel like an isolating and lonely problem. Women don’t talk about it or admit to it, rather it is swept under the rug or joked about in passing. 43% of women ages 50-64 struggle with leaking and 51% of women ages 65-80. Two-thirds of those women have not asked for advice from a healthcare provider for what to do about it. Here are the three most common mistakes our specialist see women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s make who are struggling to manage incontinence on their own.
#1 Going “Just in Case”
Do you go to the bathroom every time you pick up your keys to leave the house? If this sounds like you, stop going the bathroom “just in case.” Going to the bathroom too often and before your bladder is full can trigger your brain to start signalling you that it is time to pee well before you actually need to. The signal is sent that your bladder is full when it really isn’t. This can create a pattern urgency and urge incontinence. Also, break the habit of having your kids or grandkids do this as well. Their little bladders are susceptible to the same conditioning and problems as adult bladders.
#2 Not Drinking Enough Fluids
You stop drinking or drink too little to avoid filling up your bladder to avoid leaks. Drinking too little causes the urine in your bladder to be extremely concentrated. Concentrated urine leads to bladder irritation, urge to go, and pain. Your urine will look dark yellow in color if it is concentrated and closer to light yellow or clear when it is diluted. If your pee look more like orange juice than lemonade your next stop is the kitchen to get a glass of water.
#3 Straining on the Toilet
Your pelvic floor muscles need to be completely relaxed when you urinate to completely empty your bladder. Leaving urine in your bladder can lead to irritation, infection, and a whole other host of problems. Straining when you are pooping is equally as bad and can contribute to incontinence. We recommend if you are someone who strains on the toilet to support your feet with a stool and our favorite the Squatty Potty. This squat like position “unkinks” your hose and makes it easier to completely empty. Peeing should look like a garden hose watering flowers (steady and constant) and not like a fireman putting out a wildfire (pushing hard for speed or distance).
What can I START doing?
Take our Leak Free Challenge
You will learn 3 simple steps, from Dr. Anne Madden, a women’s health physical therapist, that you can START doing today to become leak free naturally and safely.